AYER — Navy veteran Jannice Livingston won a four-way race for a seat on the Board of Selectmen in Tuesday’s election, as voters removed incumbent Frank Maxant.
Livingston took 353 votes, with former state representative candidate Jane Morriss finishing second with 294. Maxant, a three-tern selectman, was third with 288. Former Ayer patrolman Mark Coulter placed fourth with 241 votes.
Livingston admitted she was “a little shell-shocked.”
Her message to voters? “I just want to say ‘Thank you. Wow!’ ”
Livingston said her sisters helped her campaign, and said boyfriend Sam Goodwin kept telling her “believe in yourself.”
“I told you,” said Goodwin, who was standing aside Livingston.
Livingston said the four selectmen candidates had a great day standing on Main Street, holding signs, waving to passersby, and bonding.
“We had the most wonderful time,” said Livingston. She said she’s looking forward to having the same collegial environment on the selectmen board.
Livingston said the issue that sparked her to run was seeing Maxant rip up a certificate of appreciation given to each selectman by the Ayer American Legion for their participation in the May 2012 Memorial Day Parade.
Maxant made the controversial move during a selectmen’s meeting last winter. Maxant alleged the Legion — led by Livingston’s sister, BettyAnn Matozel — prevented his friend, former housemate, honorably discharged Marine veteran and Level 3 sex offender Benjamin Franklin Pierce from joining the Legion. Matozel denied ever meeting Pierce or having received an application for membership from Pierce, who lives in Arkansas.
Asked if he had any regrets over the move, Maxant said he had “no regret at all.” Maxant stated he’d “probably” run again for selectman, possibly as soon as next spring, when two of five seats are up for election.
Maxant said “the voters preferred someone else.”
Selectmen voted last Tuesday, 4-0 to make a complaint against Maxant to the state for releasing closed-door notes from a November board meeting to Nashoba Publishing. Maxant stated the release was proper and in accordance with the law, and that the board violated the law by refusing to release the notes upon request by the newspaper in February.
In the other contested race, incumbent Treasurer Stephanie Gintner easily returned for a second consecutive three-year term, with 506 votes. Sielectman Gary Luca placed second with 417 votes. Former Finance Committee member Glen LaPierre placed a distant third with 240 votes.
Gintner and the majority of the Board of Selectmen — Luca in particular — had clashed over the past two years. Gintner said the win was a pleasant outcome and vindicates her stance.
“I ran this campaign honestly. I didn’t cheat. I didn’t make disparaging remarks about anyone,” said Gintner. She said the consensus following two Town Meeting votes and now this election is that voters want the treasurer to remain as an elected post, and not to be converted into an appointed post as Luca has advocated.
“I”m just going to keep on going,” said Gintner, with a broad grin.
Follow Mary Arata at twitter.com/maryearata.